Mobile devices make it possible to access applications and data on the go, but they’re not always ideal for heavy-duty computing tasks. When it comes to crunching numbers, most users desire a full-size keyboard, monitor and mouse, as well as ready access to power and network connectivity. That’s why the docking station market is set to record exponential growth by 2021, according to Qyresearchreports.

A docking station is, of course, designed to quickly attach a smartphone, tablet or other device to various peripherals and ports. While users could certainly do all those steps manually, the docking station makes it easy and convenient. Docking stations are typically built for office use, but there are also mobile docking stations that can be mounted inside vehicles.

Commonly associated with computing and gaming activities, docking stations also have value in the modern unified communications (UC) environment. They bring mobile and desktop UC together, enabling workers to use their favorite devices in both paradigms.

Many UC platforms include a mobility app that enables users to access phone system features from their mobile devices. With a docking station, users can easily turn a mobile session into a desktop session, and conduct longer calls or video conferences without draining the battery of the mobile device. When using their devices in the office, workers can typically connect to the corporate Wi-Fi network and avoid the connectivity issues that can occur with cellular connections indoors.

But the greatest value of docking stations lies in the user experience. By routing voice and video calls through a docking station, users get better audio quality and the benefit of a full-size screen. They also gain the convenience of speakerphone and headset capabilities for hands-free use. And because UC systems combine multiple collaboration tools as well as voice and video, the full-size keyboard of a docking station makes sense for chat, text and document-sharing functions.

In order to choose the right docking station for your organization, you should focus on users that spend about as much time in the office as on the go. Take a look at the devices they use — smartphones, tablets or laptops — and whether they use them primarily for business communications or application and data access. How long are their communication sessions? Are they experiencing call quality issues? Would they benefit from connecting to the network?

Next, consider what functionality those users might need. Do they primarily use basic call control features, or do they need conferencing capabilities as well? What about a full-size keyboard and monitor and hands-free tools?

If budget is an obstacle, be sure to look at the total cost of ownership of the docking station. The right solution can lower communication costs, reduce the number of desk phones and simplify IT support for those users. And, of course, a better user experience translates into greater productivity and customer service.

Although mobile devices have changed the way we do business, they aren’t always the best tools for business communication and computing. Docking stations bridge the gap between the desktop and mobility, giving users greater quality and convenience.